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Meet ClarizeYale of Sourmouth Sweetheart in Filipinotown

Today we’d like to introduce you to ClarizeYale.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a daughter of immigrants born and raised in San Francisco by my mom who came here from the Philippines and met my dad when they were in high school. For as long as I could remember, I’ve always been a maker or creator of some kind. Whether it was fingerpainting in class or creating dioramas for science projects, art-making and drawing was something that was naturally within me.

We moved around a bit when I was younger and I was a bright kid but seemed to never have focus and so I was not exactly an exceptional student. This continued on throughout the rest of my schooling. The only time I seemed to really enjoy school and do well is if the projects or assignments allowed me to draw or craft.

My mother wanted me to be either a model, a nurse (duh), or in the Air Force, none of which, except maybe modeling, peaked my interests. The problem with modeling was, no one looked like me. So I drew. I remember redrawing Disney princesses from the covers of my VHS tapes, perfecting and trying to understand their form with every attempt. I remember designing clothes or dresses that my mom would’ve liked (but never showed her) and designing a room had I been given a twin sister. I was not even in the 3rd grade by this point.

As I grew older, I exposed myself to different forms of creativity. When I was lonely, I discovered writing, poetry, and spoken word. When I made new friends, I discovered breakdancing and hip hop. When I was alone, I discovered graphic design (this led to an internship at the Bay Area Video Coalition). Anytime in between, I drew.

In community college, I met a guy who I regrettably ended up dating. He was a toxic one. He told me that art is useless and that I should pursue a creative career that would be financially lucrative to “our” future. Ironically, his favorite TV show was The Simpsons. I declared Architecture but hated the grueling nights and eventually switched to Interior Design. During a basic design class that was a requirement for ID, I discovered Art Nouveau and it blew my mind that flowers and women can be drawn so beautifully and other people LOVED it. Secretly, I wished I could do this as my lifes’ work instead. I left said guy and was very close to finishing up my AS in ID but wanted to take advantage of my freedom and took more art classes and discovered watercolor. I took more art and illustration based classes and received an AA with a focus on art as well.

My family didn’t have much so I did not pursue an undergrad degree. I would’ve loved to but the burden of financial struggle was not something I wanted to put my single mom or me through and I still had two younger siblings to worry about. When you come from an immigrant family, especially one that doesn’t have a lot of financial background and history, it’s hard to set yourself up for success and so I did the *minimum* because that’s all I knew. I worked part-time for different reasons: just enough to pay for my monthly bus pass and phone to go to school, just enough to pay for my own braces, just enough to live so my mom didn’t have to worry about me so she could focus more on my siblings. I eventually got a decent job where I worked part-time at a sign shop to help pay for the rest of my community college and got bumped up to full-time and my first salaried job once I graduated.

My goal was to take a year off from school to work and save. I knew I wanted to pursue art and illustration but I needed money to invest in myself first. That year ended up becoming six years and within those six years, I struggled with depression, burnout, and loss of self. I was depressed if I wasn’t drawing. I was burnt out when I did. I thought if I worked hard and did my best, I’d be deserving of a break or an opportunity to scale back to focus more on my own goals but as the company continued to grow and become more successful, I needed to be more present and available and my own goals were becoming harder to obtain.

I eventually left my job last year after my 30th birthday. I have the support of my amazing partner of 9 years who believes in me and my work but I carry the fear and burden that I may fail, more so because I left my job with no clients or steady sales. Leaving that job allowed me the opportunity to reach out for showcases, events, and networking more through social media and community groups and has opened me up to find my “why” and reintroducing myself to my inner artist. It’s scary a lot of the times but I’m so happy to be paving my own path and not going in the direction others wanted me to be in.

Has it been a smooth road?
Definitely not. I feel like my entire story so far, as you’ve just read, was not the smoothest of roads, and I didn’t even share the dark and scary parts. I don’t expect it to get any smoother but I do hope the experiences get better.

My first-ever small business client was definitely a learning experience that affected me for an entire year or more. They reached out to a group we are both in, looking for an illustrator to make an image for their marketing. Their budget was $100. I wanted the experience so I jumped on it and got the gig. Because we both have never done something like this before, my contract was a very casual email agreeing to the art being used as proposed, with their budget, so long as they tag and credit me as the artist when posted anywhere online. The image was done and the client was very happy.

Fast forward a month or few, an IG post came up of the image I created from another group and I wasn’t tagged but the client was. I asked for a tag and noticed a few comments LOVING the image. It was such a high. I tagged the client and asked if I should make prints. That was probably a big no-no for me to do that but I am SO very glad I did.

Turns out, the client believed they had exclusive rights. Being the noob I was, I didn’t know what was right or wrong, researched all that I could, put myself into a hole of depression for the rest of the year, spoke with someone regarding copyright, and apologized for the misunderstanding and tried to work something out with them. I even offered them exclusive use for marketing at no additional cost for three years. It did not pan out in the way I had hoped for and they wanted to outright own the image instead.

*inhale*

There was SO much more to this but we eventually settled but even up until now, it’s been…. a challenge. So now, in the groups I’m in, I advocate for artists ownership and fair pay and always, always, always recommend these books when other artists are looking for advice: Graphic Artists Guild Handbook for Pricing & Ethical Guidelines and Business and Legal Forms for Illustrators. I’m hoping to find a gentler way to let small businesses know what’s fair when looking to hire an illustrator. If you have any tips, let me know!

*exhale*

Please tell us more about your art.
I am a Pinxy artist and illustrator and I help brown women be seen by creating art and illustrative portraits that represent us! Cuz shit, I wanna be seen too.

My art-making also expands into my life long learning. I want to learn about and how to illustrate other forms like all kinds of flowers and animals. I want to be able to depict my own emotions and share others’ experiences through my work. And sometimes, I just like to have fun and mess around.

There are artists that have 1 set, recognizable style. One day, I wish I could have that too but in true air headed Gemini fashion, I just cannot settle. So I have my commissioned work, my Pinxy Tribe passion project, and my own personal doodles and experiments.

My commissioned work is me seeing the beauty in my commissioners or their brand and immortalizing them in a drawing.

My Pinxy Tribe passion project is me feeling lost in my cultural identity and longing to learn more about my ancestors and the indigenous tribes that exist or are no longer with us. To peak my own interests, I’ve also included flora and fauna that are found in the same geographical location as the select tribes.

One of my experiments includes what I call my “shitty left-hand doodles.” They’re not so abstract and fine art as others would expect. This practice is more for me leaving perfection at the door and creating my work in the eyes (or hands) of a child.

My own personal doodles would probably be more aligned to my “brand”. Sometimes people see me as sweet and I’m known for being compassionate and caring but there’s the flip side where I just get in SUCH a mood that I’ll draw something more sassy or sensual. I like the idea of combining something that’s delicate but vulgar.

I work with pen, ink, markers, watercolor, and more recently, digitally.

Part-time, I also work as an after school art teacher which has been fun, challenging, and rewarding.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I’m not too sure as I’m not even sure where I will be in 5-10 years. I just hope I’m still drawing and creating art by then and that there’s more acceptance to all kinds of styles of art and illustration.

Pricing:

  • Become a patron on Patreon to support my experiments and Pinxy Tribe passion project (as low as $1/month)
  • Tip me on Ko-fi just cuz (as low as $3)
  • Stickers $3 – $5
  • Prints $10 – $20
  • Personal commissions $45 – $300

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Personal photo by Kim Davalos

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